While accompanying restoration ecologists on prescribed prairie burns, I am drawn to the ephemeral quality of the single moment when life and death are not opposites, but rather parts of a single process to be embraced as a whole.
As fate would have it, this project began on the same day (and actual hour) of my sister’s first chemotherapy treatment, having just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
The parallels between the burn and chemotherapy were immediately revealed to me as I photographed with my sister in my heart and mind.
Burning helps reduce invasive vegetation that crowd out native plants, allowing sunlight to reach the seedlings. By opening the woodlands to more daylight, the fires prepare the soil for new spring growth, and the cycle of renewal continues.
So too, chemotherapy removes unwanted growth, allowing for new healthy cells to reestablish themselves.
It was with this deeper understanding of the life cycle that these images were created.
— Jane Fulton Alt